Samadhi is the final destination of all the Yoga Practitioners. To attain Samadhi is only the final enlightenment of a Yogi or a monk. There is a great similarity between the Nirvana of Buddhism and Hinduism with the Samadhi, Moksha, and Kaivalya.
The relation between these giant philosophical words is often misinterpreted. To understand the Samadhi and its relationship with these, we need to understand what is Samsara? How to escape Samsara through Hindu or Buddhist ways? How to break Samsara? And how to get Moksha?. We will cover it all at once.
In eastern philosophy, Samsara is often talked about as bondage, be it Hinduism, Buddhism, or Jainism. The common interpretation of the Samsara is a cycle of birth and death. This cycle is in terms of both the cycles of reincarnation and cycles of sorrow and happiness. Basically, these are the dualities of Nature. When the bondage of these cycles is loosened, there is the attainment of Samadhi. All the ‘Dukha’ ( sorrows ) get vanished.
In this article, we will know in detail about the Samadhi and ways to achieve this final destination of Yogi/Monk. This will help anyone to become a Karma Yogi, Bhakti Yogi or Jnana Yogi, or a Monk.
What is Samadhi?
Yoga is more than just a Spiritual Practice. Samadhi is the 8th and final stage on Patanjali’s eightfold path of yoga. When the personal consciousness makes a connection with the vastness of the supreme self of bliss, there comes Samadhi. This itself is spiritual enlightenment. There is no much science behind it but this enlightenment itself is Science.
There are various stages of attaining the Samadhi. No, matter how expert the Yoga teachers are, no one can make a person feel the experience of Samadhi. It is something whose attainment is only possible through the firm determination of the practitioner from his/her own will power.
Most of the Yoga Teachers have decided by themselves that Patanjali is the founder of Yoga. Their argument is, the eightfold path (ashtanga yoga) is only the way to achieve a final destination for Yogi. This is not the fact, there are many more ways to achieve Samadhi but not a single one is easy. Also, Patanjali is not the founder of Yoga. Reading only about Patanjali yoga Sutras is not enough.
The word Samadhi comes from two words Sama + Dhi. Sama means unity and Dhi means intellect lying beyond the body. Dhi is all about intelligence which controls the body. The literal translation of Samadhi is the “Unity of the Intellect” or “total self-collectedness”.
But, wait? What needs to be united? And, with what?
To get an initial view, when the practitioner understands that, the intelligence of any being is above all the senses. It is the final enlightenment.
Yes, it is indeed tough. The resistance of the senses is not easy to apply in modern times. You get unnecessarily attracted towards the object of the senses.
Seeing a tasty lemonade on the hot summer cannot satisfy you right? You have to drink it then only there is a sensory pleasure.
As stated in the Bhrihadaranyaka Upanishad, the food for the sense organs are their enjoyment. Just like both excess food and less food makes you ill, the enjoyment of the senses also needs to be balanced. Avoiding temptations is the key to control.
Yoga Teachers want people to apply Samadhi in daily life. There is no doubt that they know Yoga poses for physical fitness or mental fitness perfectly. Although, Samadhi doesn’t mean physical and mental fitness completely. There are Yogis from the Himalayas who resist their sense organs so harshly that there is no question of getting physical fitness initially. The extreme level exercises are mentioned in the books like Upanishads and Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
The main intention of the extreme level exercises is to let the mind control the subconscious bodily functions. So, when all your nervous system gets controlled on will, there are no feelings of good and bad, happiness and sadness, life and death, etc. The dualities get vanished from the mind and unite as one.
In the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, the three-fold path is valued more than the eight-fold path. This is Samyama, or the Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi at once. You can read about the eightfold path from here and the Samyama from here. These are compiled based on Yoga Sutras and various other books.
Although, as per Yoga Vashistha, Samadhi moments can also be progressed in day-to-day life. The Tripura Rahasya of Sage Dattatreya says Samadhi is felt in day-to-day life but remains unnoticed. These two are the most useful books for Yoga practitioners.
Types of Samadhi.
Samadhi is majorly classified into two types. However, there can be a thousand + types of Samadhi depending upon the instructor or Guru.
Savikalpa Samadhi can also be known as Samprajnata Samadhi or Sabija Samadhi, However, these three will have different meanings in both literary sense and practices. Savikalpa is all about Alternatives. Only a Guru can tell which method is perfect as per the temperament of an individual. The Guru is not necessarily a Yoga Teacher, he/she can be your school teacher, coach, etc. too.
Savikalpa means Unity with the alternatives of the final destination. These alternatives are objects of Dhyana Yoga or the objects of deep contemplation. Let’s take an example of you, yourself. Remember the moments when you used to forget yourself because you were either focused deeply on your work or you were fully satisfied with your deeds. Usually, these moments can be there majorly when there is no feeling of I-Ness.
In a football match or any sporting event, a captain has to trust his players more than himself. The ego or I-ness vanishes, his focus is only on the victory rather than ego. After having that victory there is the ultimate satisfaction. The captain will be busy in thinking ‘we did it’ rather than ‘I did it’. Here the object of ‘Dhyana Yoga’ is the victory for the captain. That winning moment is the ‘Savikalpa Samadhi’. Tripura Rahashya book says these moments are present in day-to-day life.
Yes, it is not necessary to do Yoga/Meditation in order to get Savikalpa Samadhi. However, the standard three-fold path Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi can be performed in order to accomplish various feats. Click here to read more about the feats and the methods from the Patanjali Yoga Sutras.
Nirvikalpa Samadhi can also be known as Asamprajnata Samadhi or Nirbija Samadhi: This is majorly about having the unity of mind by eliminating all the dualities. It is the Nirvana of Buddhism. The stage of being is called ‘Kaivalya Pada’ or Kaivalya itself. Only the perfect Yogis/Monks can only achieve it. There are high risks associated with the practices for ordinary people. You can see the rare video of Paramhamsha Yogananda entering into the stage of Nirvikalpa Samadhi at the beginning of this article.
The major thing here is about the control of the heartbeat consciously. There have been various Scientific Experiments where the heartbeat of Yogi is found to be very low. A study supported by the Department of Physiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India has shown that yoga practitioners with an average of 16 months of experience, were able to reduce the heart rates by 19.6 beats per minute when they used strategies of their choice. Also, they were able to achieve a reduction of 22.2 beats per minute when all of the practitioners used breath regulation as a strategy for a heart rate reduction.
It would be interesting to observe the heart rate of hidden masters from the Himalayas. Can they make the heartbeat to 0? This question is for you.
The control of the subconscious stage is interpreted through the symbol OM which consists of four psychological stages namely. Jagrit or Waking, Svapna or Dreaming, Sushupti or Dormant/ Sub Conscious stage, and Turiya stage i.e. conscious control of the subconscious mind.
The subconscious stage is where your body functions are in complete control, just like a heartbeat, breath, nerve currents, etc. The complete control is Turiya which makes a Yogi or a Monk reach the highest stage called Kaivalya through the experience of Nirvana or Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
Five steps for achieving Samadhi.
There are various methods for attaining Samadhi. However, these are the five general ways. The first four are for Savikalpa Samadhi, followed by the Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
First of all, there is a need for understanding individual temperament. It is all about accepting the ‘Dharma’ assigned by the cosmos to you. It is all about your inner passion. Do, what makes you feel satisfied. For some, it is music, for some it is sports and for some, it is cooking food. You can click here to read, how the Himalayan Masters identify the temperament of an individual?
However, for some people getting satisfaction is tough because their ‘job/profession is either compulsion or forced by others. For them only the fifth step is applicable.
Karma Yoga always works best and it is not always about sitting and meditating. It is about doing things perfectly without expecting anything. This is written in Shreemad Bhagawat Gita. So basically, when you have no expectations for the things you do. You never get hurt or never get more excited about the results. This keeps you balanced and when excitement for the results gets controlled, your senses get controlled automatically.
Observe the similar pattern of Nature and Yourself. There are five elements of nature, space, air, water, fire, and earth. Carefully observe in which spaces you get inner satisfaction, feel the motion of air in you ( breath), understand your wet emotions (pleasures of life), feel the taste of food, and try to sense how it gets burned and goes all around the body to make you grow. Look where you keep your feet in the ground. Be aware of all.
Start doing good for others. Help people with the things that you know without any expectation. My friend likes to help people get rid of fear. You can do something basic which you know. This will help you to control the I-Ness. When you get internal satisfaction, you forget your ego and live a better life. However, these satisfactions will not be permanent but enough for someone to lead a good single life. If you want mystic life with Moksha read step five otherwise you can skip to the next section.
Go to Himalayas or Tibet to find a master. If you want an easy way to get a good master, visit the Kumbh Mela festival that comes in every 12 years. It is celebrated at four places namely Haridwar, Nasik, Ujjain, and Prayag. These days Kumbh Mela is overcrowded so beware of the frauds. You can also find a guru at places like Varanasi and Kashi on the banks of the River Ganges. It is up to you to choose a guru. But…
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.Gautam Buddha
See the quote frequently and don’t lose the hope.
The relation between Moksha and Samadhi, Brahman vs Nirvana.
When someone attains Moksha, the person becomes ‘Brahman’ i.e. the Universe itself. The conscious stage of Brahman is Nirvana. You can read more about Brahman from here. Moksha is for all the lives, this is Dharmamegha Samadhi. A person can recall the methods to achieve Nirvana in all the upcoming lives also. So basically Dharmamegha Samadhi is bigger than all, this itself is the Moksha or the liberation.